Friday, May 1, 2009

Finding towns in Eastern Germany/Poland/Russia

One of the problems with locating information about individuals who were born and lived in Eastern Germany or Poland or Western Russia is the movement of the borders back and forth. With each change of border, it was common to rename the towns and other political subdivisions. Making your way through the change of names can a be a formidable task. Fortunately, the Internet gives us a lot mapping tools and databases to help with the search.

One of the most interesting sites is the Karten Meister. This site is one of the most comprehensive databases of locations in the provinces of Eastprussia, including Memel, Westprussia, Brandenburg, Posen, Pomerania, and Silesia. The site claims to have 81,166 locations with over 34,125 name changes where the change occurred one time, and 5,500 where the change occurred more than once.

The site can be searched in several ways:

1. German name
2. Older German name
3. Kreis/County
4. By the next larger town, (this is a proximity search.)
5. Today's Polish, Russian or Lithuanian name.
6. by Family Name.

The site also contains a collection of high resolution maps of the target area.

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